Skip universal navigation

New York State Universal header

Skip to main content

Wireless Communications Surcharge media center

Changes to the Tax Law that take effect December 1, 2017, impose a state surcharge on the retail sale of prepaid wireless communications services. This amendment expands the current surcharge imposed on postpaid wireless services. Counties and New York City also have the option to impose these surcharges. 

Help us spread the word. We encourage you to use the newsletter and website content; widgets; and links to additional resources to make sure your audience is aware of the new surcharge and its filing requirements. 

Newsletter and website content

Beginning December 1, 2017, anyone who sells prepaid wireless communications services must collect a prepaid wireless communications surcharge and file quarterly returns with the Tax Department.  The first return is due March 20, 2018.

Prepaid wireless communications services include mobile phones or mobile phone cards preloaded with a set dollar amount or number of minutes, and the reloading of mobile phones or mobile phone cards with additional minutes.


New York State surcharge is $0.90 per retail sale of prepaid wireless services, and local surcharge, if enacted, is $0.30 per retail sale of prepaid wireless services.

Each seller must separately identify the surcharge as the public safety communications surcharge on any receipt or other statement of price provided to the customer.  If space limitations on a receipt do not allow the seller to identify the surcharge as the public safety communications surcharge, then, in those limited circumstances, it would be sufficient for the seller to use PSCS as an alternative to identify the surcharge. 

Filing requirements

Each seller must Web File Form WCS-2-PRE, Prepaid Wireless Communications Surcharge Return, every quarter even if no surcharge is due. Quarterly reporting periods are:

December 1 through February 28 (February 29 if leap year);
March 1 through May 31;
June 1 through August 31; and
September 1 through November 30.

Each return is due the 20th day of the month following the close of the reporting period. If the due date falls on a Saturday, Sunday, or a legal holiday, the return is due on the next business day.


For a full list of exemptions, see our Prepaid wireless communications seller webpage, or visit us at (search: prepaid wireless)

Administrative fee

Prepaid wireless communications sellers are entitled to retain a percentage of collections as an administrative fee as follows:

  • 1.749% of the total New York State surcharge collected.
  • 3% of the total local surcharge collected.

If sellers do not timely file and fully pay the surcharge due with their return, they are not entitled to retain the administrative fee. 

Additional links

Wireless Communications Surcharge
Prepaid wireless communications seller
Form WCS-2-PRE, Prepaid Wireless Communications Surcharge Return—coming soon
Postpaid wireless communications service supplier
Form WCS-1, Postpaid Wireless Communications Surcharge Return—coming soon


Prepaid wireless photo

Cell phone sign

Prepaid sign

Subscribe for email alerts

To receive automatic email updates, subscribe to our Wireless Communications Surcharges email list.